Harbour Moves

Nov 16, 2009 (LBO) – Labour unions at Colombo port, Sri Lanka’s main harbour, Monday ended a ‘go-slow’ action that had caused delays to shipping lines, after striking a deal on a pay hike with the authorities. “This caused a loss of confidence in Colombo among foreign shipping lines.”

He said one line was supposed to have given word of its willingness to strike a deal to call at Colombo this week but had put off the decision because of the delays caused by the union action.

He warned that if lines lose confidence in the port and decided to call elsewhere it would take years to woo them back again.

He said the SLPA had suffered because of the global recession with the sharp drop in ship traffic and cargo volumes eroding its earnings.

“The SLPA simply could not afford the eight-thousand rupees a month pay hike demanded by workers.” Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama said the labour unions involved in the action ended their campaign late Monday morning after talks with the management.

The unions had agreed to accept a pay hike of a total of 3,000 rupees a month from January next year with arrears for November and December, he said.

The unions launched